This Week’s Arts & Culture Scene | Nov 23


First Night Spotlight, the annual High School singing competition, begins its preliminary rounds the first week of December, at Big Sky High School December 1, Sentinel High School December 2, and Hellgate High School December 3, all immediately after school ends for the day. The final preliminary round, for those at other area schools or home-schooled, will take place Saturday, December 5 at the Silver (formerly the World Theater.  Winners from these rounds perform on the Dennison Theatre during First Night Missoula on New Year’s Eve.  Sign up here.

The Montana Museum of Art & Culture presents The Intimate Diebenkorn: Drawings 1949 – 1992

now through December 12 in the
Paxson and Meloy Galleries. The exhibition features 52 pieces, many of which have never been publicly viewed, and includes pencil and ink drawings on paper, collages of torn paper and watercolors.

Dolce Canto and St. Francis Xavier Church present a Lecture/Recital called The Spotless Rose, Thursday, December 3, at 7:00 p.m. at St. Francis Xavier (420 W. Pine St.) This preview of our holiday concert will feature a collaboration with Father Joseph Carver, SJ, who will share a talk on significance of Mary, the Spotless Rose.  Visit here for more.

Missoula Art MuseumThe Missoula Art Museum presents  Terrain: Plateau Native Art & Poetry through February 27, 2016; John Buck: Free for All through March 12; Good Wood: Carved And Cut From MAM’s Permanent Collection through March 12; A Few of My Favorite Things, an exhibition selected by MAM’s Senior Exhibition Curator Emeritus Stephen Glueckert, through December 23 (pictured here); MaryAnn Bonjorni: Legends Are History, through January 2.

Fact and Fiction presents James Lee Burke reading and signing House of the Rising Sun, at 7:00 p.m. on December 1 at F&F Downtown.

The International Choral Festival  and the UM School of Music will present their annual benefit performance of George Frederic Handel’s “Messiah” this Sunday, November 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Dennison Theatre on the UM campus. This free concert is a beloved community sing-a-long with a volunteer chorus, which has delighted local singers and audiences annually since 1995.  There is still time to join the chorus, sign-up online here. Proceeds will equally support Missoula’s 10th International Choral Festival scheduled for July 13-16, 2016 and scholarships for UM choral and orchestral students.

The University of Montana School of Music presents the Student Chamber Recital, November 23 at 7:30 in the UM Music Recital Hall. Free and open to the public. Information: School of Music, 406-243-6880,

Radius Gallery’s
second annual holiday show kicked off November 20 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. This year 73 artists have contributed a super-abundance of terrific artworks-over 200 small paintings, pastels, photographs, and mixed media pieces. Call 541-7070.

First NightAdmission buttons for First Night Missoula go on sale in early December, beginning with the First Night Book Fair at Fact and Fiction on December 5, and a special 2 for the price of 1 button sale that day only at Fact and Fiction.   Call 541-0860 for more information.

The 21st annual Juried Student Art Exhibit at the University Center Gallery of Visual Arts runs now through December 10.  Call 243-2813.

The Sound of Music is a Missoula Community Theatre production for the holiday season at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts.  “Premiere Night” is Thursday, December 3 with a catered reception and the regular run plays Friday, December 4-6, 9-13 and 16-20. For tickets, visit here or call the box office at 728-7529.

Performers and comic writers Katie Goodman and Soren Kisiel perform and read from their book, The Night Our Parents Went Out during Family Storytime at Missoula Public Library, Saturday, November 28 at 11:00 a.m. For more information, call 721-BOOK (2665).

Picture4Nancy Seiler presents Art Workshops throughout November and December at her studio at 330 Brooks Street. The next is Thursday, December 10, 9:00 a.m.-noon: Nature Journaling with Watercolor. The workshop repeats Saturday, December 12, from 1:00-4:00 p..m.  She’ll show you how to sketch, ink, and apply watercolor to objects found in nature. We’ll work inside the studio.   Nancy is a certified GOLDEN Art Educator. Call 370-1254 to register.

University of Montana School of Theatre & Dance presents Treasure Island by Ken Ludwig, Adapted from the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson, November 24, 27-28, December 1-5 at 7:30 p.m.  November 29 and December 5 at 2:00 p.m. Montana Theatre, PARTV Center, U of M Campus.

The University of Montana School of Theatre & Dance also presents Dance Up Close, December 4-5 and 11-12 at 7:30 p.m., and December 12 at 2:00 p.m. at the Masquer Theatre, PARTV Center, U of M Campus.

Join the annual holiday season celebration at the University Center for the UC Holiday Art Festival. The Art Festival will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Friday and Saturday, December 4 and 5  in the University Center Atrium.  The UC Holiday Art Festival features unique, hand-crafted art from local and regional artists, as well as live music, live art demonstrations and prize raffles. This is the perfect place to get your holiday shopping done. Come support local artists as they show their wares in the beautiful UC Atrium.
The UC Art Festival is the longest running art fair in western Montana and has a legacy of returning and new artists from around the state and beyond. The UC Art Festival is a non-profit art fair that funds student-run programming at the University of Montana. For more information, call 243-5622.

The Montana World Affairs Council presents a lecture by Rafael Chacon, Ph .D, School of Art at the University of Montana titled Cuban Art in the Modern Age at the Missoula Public Library, Thursday, December 3, at 4:00 p.m. The next guest in the Council’s Distinguished Speakers Program is U. S, Ambassador  (ret.) Vicki Huddleston, who was Chief of the U.S. Interests Section in Havana from 1999-2002.  The program will take place at the Doubletree in Missoula on Monday December 7 at 7:00 p.m.  Ambassador Huddleston will discuss U.S. – Cuban Relations 1900 – 2015: The Best of Enemies. For more information, call 728-3328.

MCT is participating in Toys for Tots this holiday season.  Please drop off new, unwrapped toys for a deserving child at the MCT Center for the Performing Arts before December 23, between the hours of 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday.  You may also drop toys off one hour before each performance of The Sound of Music (Dec 3-6, 9-13 and 16-20).  For more information, call MCT at 728-1911.

For more information about arts events in the Missoula area, visit our website.


Tom Bensen

Tom Bensen has lived in Missoula since 1986, and has been the executive director of the Missoula Cultural Council since June 2004. He has directed First Night Missoula each New Year’s Eve since 1997.   He is a member of Missoula’s choral ensemble Dolce Canto, and enjoys being outdoors, whether it is hiking, biking, skiing, walking the dogs, or mowing the lawn.  His wife Susan works for Montana Public Radio, and their son Peter attends Hellgate High School.